Source: Recollections of Thirteen Presidents
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “William McKinley” [chapter 12]
Author(s): Wise, John S.
Publisher: Doubleday, Page and Company
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1906
Pagination: 213-33 (excerpt below includes only pages 232-33)
|Wise, John S. “William McKinley” [chapter 12]. Recollections of Thirteen Presidents. New York: Doubleday, Page, 1906: pp. 213-33.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|McKinley assassination (personal response); William McKinley (personal character).|
|From title page: By John S. Wise, Author of “The Lion’s Skin,” “The End of an Era,” “Diomed,” etc.|
William McKinley [excerpt]
A few weeks later I was at my little
country place in Virginia. It is on the point of a cape far from the railroad
and telegraph. We were at breakfast when one of the servants came in with 
the report that McKinley had been shot. I regarded it at first as a mere idle
country rumour, but went to the ’phone and inquired of the telegraph office
in the village twelve miles away, and to my horror the rumour was confirmed.
What surprised me most was the credulity of people in thinking there was any
hope of his recovery. Surgery has undoubtedly made great advances in late years,
and I am no skilled surgeon, but it will be many a day, with the practical experience
I have had with wounds like that, before any surgeon, however eminent, will
make me believe that there is one chance in ten thousand for any victim of a
gun-shot wound through the intestines.
Poor McKinley! He deserved a better fate. The criticisms I have passed upon him above, while they were deserved, do not destroy or materially weaken a feeling akin to affection which I always felt for him; and while his friendship failed me once on a pinch, he showed me many times his kindness of heart, and friendly interest, and desire to serve me—when he did not have to endanger himself. That was his nature and he could not change it. On the whole his was a nature far above the average of mankind in sweetness and kindliness, and not a whit below the average in selfishness, perhaps, when men are subjected to the test.